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2 candidates get endorsements for state monument designation

(Information from: Deseret News,

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gov. Gary Herbert's office has endorsed the first two designations for new state monument candidates, but they will need approval by Utah lawmakers.

The Deseret News reports Danger Cave State Park Heritage Area near the Nevada border and Old Iron Town in Iron County received unanimous legislative endorsement by the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee last month.

The committee will draft a concurrent resolution that will need the support of the full Legislature.

Danger Cave is one of North America's most significant archaeological sites, once home to artifacts and relics detailing the history of Native Americans as far back as 11,000 years ago.

Old Iron Town was home to several hundred residents in early statehood history as pioneers tried to hold onto their independence from the federal government.



New Mexico delegation takes aim at US West's water scarcity

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — As things begin to dry out again in New Mexico, members of the arid state's congressional delegation are looking for ways to combat water scarcity here and across the American West.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall is blaming climate change for growing water scarcity, worrying that New Mexico snowpacks were getting smaller and unable to adequately feed the Rio Grande and the rest of the state's groundwater supplies.

He and other lawmakers last week introduced the Western Water Security Act of 2019. They say the goal is to strengthen New Mexico's water infrastructure and focus efforts on conservation and the restoration of water supplies throughout the West.

The latest federal drought map shows a big pocket of moderate to severe drought over the Four Corners region, where New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah meet.


Racial disparities in Utah prisons need study, lawmaker says

(Information from: Standard-Examiner,

OGDEN, Utah (AP) — A Utah state lawmaker says she's working on a proposal to study how implicit racial biases may play into the disproportionate number of minorities in the state prison system.

Republican Rep. Marsha Judkins of Provo tells the Standard-Examiner she's working on a prosecution transparency bill to be introduced next year that would require the collection of data about arrest, charging, sentencing and parole decisions.

Utah Sentencing Commission numbers show 43% of people newly sentenced to prison in 2017 were racial or ethnic minorities. Census data shows minorities made up 20% of the population.

Judkins says the statistics point to clear racial disparities. But without specific data, it's hard to determine what's driving it.

The issue is important because Utah's prison population is rising faster than any other state but Idaho.



'Chalkbus' inspires drawings and connectivity

AMERICAN FORK, Utah (AP) — A VW bus painted like a black chalkboard is inspiring creative drawings and bringing people together in American Fork.

No matter where he parks the 'chalkbus,' owner Jonathan Sherman says he comes back to find great new art adorning the sides.

The Daily Herald reports that the story behind bus inspired a documentary by college students at Utah Valley University.

Sherman also lets bands cram into the bus to play music while he drives around town.

Sherman is a licensed marriage and family therapist. He says the bus seems to provide something people are missing by connecting people.


Person found dead following Salt Lake City house fire


Authorities say one person was found dead after a fire that started in a home's basement and destroyed the residence Saturday.

Cause of the fire is under investigation and no additional information was released.


Report: Sage-grouse recovery to cost millions and take years

(Information from: The Daily Sentinel,

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A federal agency says rebuilding a sage-grouse population found only in Colorado and Utah could take more than 50 years and cost nearly $561 million.

The Daily Sentinel reported Saturday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a draft recovery plan for the Gunnison sage-grouse, which is listed as a threatened species.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife estimates the bird's population at more than 3,000, primarily in Colorado's Gunnison Basin.

Officials say the bird is found only in eight western Colorado counties and one eastern Utah county.

Planned recovery actions include invasive weed treatment and improved livestock grazing practices.

The largest proposed expense is nearly $309 million to acquire conservation easements or purchase private lands.

The plan was developed by federal, state and nongovernment organizations with local input.


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